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THE DESERT GUARDIAN                   23
Khamseens that the sky may be obscured completely and the sun disappear from view. The swirling clouds of sand, often as impossible to see through as a real London fog, are driven rapidly forward and part of them is then deposited against and upon any objects which stand in their course; they gradually accumulate around and over those objects. I had seen villagers who live near the oases on the edge of the Libyan Desert forced to abandon their huts and to rebuild them on higher ground, such was the all-conquering drift of sand against the walls. I had seen a lofty old temple in Upper Egypt, which the excavators dug out lately, against which sand had piled up to the very roofs.
CARVINGS ON THOTHMES IV STELE,  WHICH STANDS IN  FRONT OF
THE   SPHINX
I looked back at the Sphinx, at the pathetic, half-sad expression around its seven-feet-wide mouth that was just faintly discernible in the starlight and which had replaced for ever the half-smiling look I had seen on the figure of my vision, the primeval Atlantean Sphinx. The desert winds, so dreadful in their force, had battered its face, which irreverent men likewise had disfigured.
Surely the flying sands had hurled themselves upon it from time to time, sometimes silently, sometimes howling with storm-fury, and had all but buried it? They had. I remembered the mysterious dream which the Pharaoh Thothmes IV has recorded in fascinating hieroglyphic characters upon the red granite stele which lies between its paws. I remembered, too, word for word, the pathetic plaint in that dream of the forlorn